Lantis Enterprises: Travis Lantis, CEO

by HCE Exchange on August 19, 2010

In the late 1960s, Will Lantis was a salesman for a chemical and maintenance supply company. On regular visits to his clients, which mainly consisted of nursing homes, he saw seniors living in less than desirable conditions. He felt strongly that aging members of our society be treated with respect and dignity. He envisioned a home-like atmosphere, rather than the warehoused, sterile living arrangements he saw for those who could no longer live independently.

Will and his wife, Mary Ellen, bought their first long-term care facility in 1972. “My dad was a cowboy,” says Travis Lantis, Will’s son and current CEO of Lantis Enterprises. “He flew by the seat of his pants, learned as he went, and surrounded himself by really good and knowledgeable people. He pushed the rest of the family to do the very same thing.”

Will passed away in 2006, but in Lantis Enterprises he left a legacy, not only for his family, but for the families in the Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota and Montana communities he touched and will continue to touch for decades to come. Will’s company currently has about 1,700 employees and runs twenty-one nursing homes, eleven assisted living centers, and six home health agencies.

Travis and his three sisters, Cammy, Wendy, Leah   were raised with their parent’s values at the center of their lives. “We basically grew up here,” Travis says. “We grew up going to the buildings, working with the residents … Literally, we’ve done everything; stripping tile from the floors and putting down new tile, painting, helping the cook, and working alongside the CNAs. We’ve gone from the first to the second generation, and now, hopefully, we’re seeing a third generation coming through in the same steps we’ve been through.”

Western Hospitality with a Smile

Lantis Enterprises believes in taking care of people as if they were family. To do that Travis says you have to make your staff feel like family, too while implementing aggressive programs to meet our residents needs and abide by local, state and federal regulations.

Travis encourages the Lantis management team to use innovative business solutions while maintaining Western Hospitality with a smile.  “With what is going on in the rest of the country, it’s created a lot of fear out there.  We try to reassure our team so they can be real comfortable with their jobs and they can focus on what’s most important – our core: taking the best possible care of our residents and making life for our residents the best we possibly can.”

Education of staff members is critical to successful operations. When new management members are brought into the company, they start with a complete training program on Lantis systems and philosophy.

The company works with several area colleges on internships, both in the areas of business degrees and social services degrees. Travis says one benefit to operating in the upper Midwest is that the population he draws his employees from tends to have really solid core values. “When you get them in the door to hire, they’re just good people,” he says. “Caring and giving people; that’s what you need in this business.”

Growth of Facilities

Time, energy and money are currently being spent on computer systems at Lantis Enterprises. All software systems are being updated. “It’s an ongoing process,” says Lantis, “But very important to the future.”

Looking for new facilities is, to some extent, a day-to-day part of the business, but Travis describes the process as somewhat of a personal pick. “If we believe we can work well with the current operator and bring them in under the Lantis group, we’ll certainly look at opportunities to do so. It all depends on whatever is going to help us provide the best care to all residents.”

Travis likes the hands-on aspect of Lantis Enterprises. The key family and staff members visit all the facilities multiple times per year. “I would hate to see us grow to the point where we can’t do that,” he says. “I do see growth, but I never visualize this company being more than 80 buildings or so at any given time. That would be my goal, eventually, to hit that 60 to 80 mark. We can still be hands-on and be at every building at least two or three times a year. We can keep that family touch.”

Lantis Enterprises recently completed an employee satisfaction survey. The survey has resulted in efforts to improve communication and teamwork. Ongoing resident surveys are showing that the company is rated very high on quality of care by the nursing and specialty staff.

Simplicity of Management

Lantis Enterprises believes in managing by their mission of quality care with Respect, Dignity and Kindness.  Travis is adamant about leading by the company’s core values of honesty, integrity, cooperation, and open communication.  Travis “If someone wants to call me—if a CNA wants to be in touch, if a resident family member has a question—they have my phone number. It’s available to everyone. We have a very open door policy, so if somebody needs something or wants to discuss something with us, they’re more than welcome to give me a call. I think this is key to keeping the business family-oriented.”

Travis believes the success of Lantis Enterprises depends on western hospitality and the genuine nature of the people who make up the company. “If people trust you, they are more willing to work with you, more willing to be open. If you can create that atmosphere, then people take ownership. You are going to have a successful company.”

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